1. ok, I've restrained myself so far but it's time for me to talk idol. american idol
. SKIP AHEAD IF YOU CANNAE TAKE IT.
despite feeling a sincere affection for prematurely gray haired tourette's tic-ing ray charles/sam cooke lovin' taylor hicks
& his very strange dance moves, I have moved on. because I love an underdog & right now that underdog is elliot yamin
, or as I like to call him, "the camel" thanks to his uncanny resemblance to joe camel.
yamin has teeth straight out of deliverance
, a too short haircut that makes him look like a relative of jim carrey's character in dumb & dumber
& a perma-slouch that gives him a slight hunchback look. yowza! I know, that's a lot to work with. but then there's his voice, a totally unaffected buttery r&b croon. if you just listen to him go without looking at the screen you would never in a million years think that THAT voice is coming out of that man. it's too confident, too polished & too strong. & that guy looks like he's 5 seconds away from a serious case of flop sweat &/or looking for a mad scientist to assist. his first ever performance on idol was of moody's mood for love*
, which seemed an odd choice of song in that it's jazzy, tricky & fairly obscure if you take into account that most ai viewers song recognition runs to mainstream country & r&b & contestants often choose material reflecting that. he did a fine job though, navigating the song's little bebop time changes with finesse. I was impressed.
of course, everyone who watches american idol knows that show is not about singing ability alone. it's about singing plus personality. this year's crop is slightly better vocally than the usual so presence might be thing that determines the photo finish. we have the aforementioned taylor hicks
whose innate warmth & passion for music comes across in his interactions with judges & guests alike. then there's little paris_bennett
who is both blessed (because it truly is phenomenal) & cursed (because it makes her slightly freakish) with a dark wine-stained soul voice that does not sound like it belongs to a chirpy 16 year old girl. one second, you want to give her a pony & the next she's singing about hitting the bedroom floor & it's all deeply, deeply wrong. katharine mcphee
is the resident mchottie (despite the ai stylists who keep putting her in weird maternity blouses) with her big brown eyes, long wavy hair, heart shaped face & much back. the camera closes in on her & she looks & sings exactly as you would expect an operatically trained girl who has been going on acting auditions for years does. technically clean & flutter lashed pretty. unfortunately - & this won't hurt her chances since a femmebot won last year - she's the type of girl that sings whitney houston's histrionic I have nothing
as in if I don't have you
with a GIANT GRIN on her face. total disconnect. girl is so busy making eyes at the camera & looking like she's snow white, she don't even realize the song is about one big meltdown! everything about her style as a singer is artificial & cookie cutter. which means WINNER of course. next up is chris daughtry
, the odds on favorite(!), who looks like a q-tip, sings like he's on the toilet, & loves creed. yes. I said he loves creed. & according to last night, also loves bryan adams' have you ever really loved a woman
. that's all I need to say about that. bad taste aside, he has a compelling back story involving adopting his wife's daughters from a previous marriage & being an awesome husband/provider & I'm touched, I am. but creed? c'mon! last but not least, there's kellie pickler
. trim, blonde & permanently chatty, pickler is the ai contestant you love to hate or hate to love. her singing is something like a country & western cruise cabaret act & I'm being kind. the reason the girl is still there despite her relative inadequacy is that she's charming & has the best I'm just a hillbilly act since dolly parton. pickler chirps away in her winsome twang about calamari, what's a minxes & making pottery & it's hard to not to be suckered. ALSO, her mother left her when she was an infant, her daddy's in jail & her grandpa brought her up by himself. now how can you not vote for a nice girl like that? even when she warbles unchained melody
, a song that not even the best singers can sell thanks to its neverendingness?
which leaves us with the camel. poor yamin looks so very uncomfortable even when he's talking about songs that matter to him, such as the donnie hathaway
number he chose to sing last night. his hesitant & stuttering intro was nothing compared to the real feeling he brought to the song in performance. his was the best vocal of the night. of course, he'll probably be going home today & kellie pickler will keep holding on until the bitter end. that's life!
2. speaking of weird looks to voice comparisons. kristie
of the song corporation
is the picture of calm self-possession onstage. a pretty, slender girl with corkscrew curls playing her gibson with a look of relaxed concentration. she sings evenly in a sexy, simmering alto, her eyes fixed towards the exit sign as she shifts her weight from one foot to the other in hypnotic time. that captivating voice of hers says "cool & measured, that's my style."
of course, when you actually go up to her to tell her that you enjoyed the show, you'll find yourself talking to a back slapping, bad-kid grinning tomboy with a mischievous glint in her eye that's straight out of thackeray. a woman who is WAY more likely to grab your arm & scream "cheese fries!
" than give you an icy brush-off. you can compliment the serene stage vixen all you like but be prepared for the sassy & saucy, 'cause that's what you'll get. aren't you glad that these janus ladies exist? I sure am! the song corporation
plays tonight, at 8PM at the delancey
. FREE, FREE & FREE.
3. please note contributor bryan
's magic 8 ball playlist below, also posted today. I love these! more! more!
ps speaking of sassy & saucy, I DARED kristie & mike from the song corporation
to cover something that they & their friend janine swore up & down was a good song & I insisted was most emphatically nothing but pure SUCK. which song? eternal flame
by the bangles
. oh yes. the one with the burning. will they prove me wrong by performing it tonight? will I close my eyes & give them my hand?!?!?! there's only one way to find out. be there.
* which I know from a king pleasure
& blossom dearie
duet that a friend once put on a mix for me...anyone know if that's the original?american idol contestant to root for: elliott yamin
band to see live: the song corporation